Bacon and I have a sordid history. I’m not even joking here. Allow me to explain…
My mother, who shall henceforth be known as the World’s Worst Eater, was raised in an Orthodox Jewish household where bacon was decidedly off the table (forgive the pun). When she fell in love with a preacher’s son, she was introduced to a whole new of foods as she moved away from the faith of her youth. But, this isn’t a tale of religious reformation. This is about bacon.
Bacon became my mother’s FAVORITE food. And, when you consider the woman only eats like five things, that translates to A LOT of bacon during the formative years of my life. Only when I became a vegetarian at the age of fourteen was I finally freed from the excess of bacon.
It was then that I decided I never even liked bacon in the first place. It was greasy, salty, fatty pork. I don’t mean to start stepping on any bacon-loving toes, but removing bacon from my life seemed more like a blessing than a hindrance. Fast forward almost fifteen years to a time when I had to incorporate meat into my diet again because of a medical condition. Bacon, revisited, became an indulgence I enjoyed rather than something I disdained. Nevertheless, it was still greasy, salty, fatty, nitrate-ridden pork. Gross.
Once in a while, sure, I might steal a piece of bacon from my boyfriend’s plate or throw some in the oven for Sunday brunch with the extended family, but I still couldn’t entirely shake the gross factor.
And then, behold, along came Dana’s Vegan Coconut Bacon. Crispy, but not greasy, this vegan-version of bacon has that unique bacon flavor that broke down my mother’s kosher upbringing. And better yet? All that flavor and no fatty, nitrate-ridden pork. Instead, Dana uses coconut flakes to create her vegan version. That’s victory on two fronts.
Moreover, you can whip up a batch of Vegan Coconut Bacon in roughly twenty minutes with minimal effort. The trick, I’ve been told, is to keep a close eye on the oven while preparing your Vegan Coconut Bacon because it can easily burn. Also, don’t worry if the texture of the Vegan Coconut Bacon is a little moist upon exiting the oven. Dana assures me it will crisp as it cools and achieve a chewy texture.
The very best part is you can store your Vegan Coconut Bacon in an air-tight container for up to a month. There are just so many things you can do with it in that time! Just think about the possibilities… Toss a handful in your morning tofu scramble. Sprinkle some on your salads or, maybe, a maple-glazed donut. Really, I could go on all day.
- 3 1/2 cups coconut flakes (about 1 full package)
- 2 TBSP liquid smoke
- 1 TBSP soy sauce
- 1 TBSP agave or maple syrup
- 1 TBSP water
- 1 tsp paprika (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350.
- In a medium to large sized bowl, combine liquid smoke, soy sauce, agave/maple, water and paprika (if using). Give it a quick whisk to be sure everything is mixed together. Add in coconut flakes and stir well. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or so.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread coconut flakes evenly on the baking sheet.
- Place in 350 degree oven for 5 minutes and check for "done-ness." Give the baking sheet a shake to ensure even cooking. If needed, bake for another 3-5 minutes. The 'bacon' can burn fairly easily, so it's a good idea to check frequently and not be too far away from the oven.
- Once bacon is out of the oven, it may still have a bit of a wet feel to it. After it cools, it should crisp up, but still have a bit of a chewy texture.
- Store in an airtight container for up to a month.